Sierra first came to see me in 2014, at the age of 36. She was here (in the Philadelphia area) visiting a friend who is a long-time patient of mine. Sierra lives in California, so this was not a typical interaction, since I knew there would be no chance of including a vision therapy program. This scenario is different than Henryk, who came in from Germany, specifically for a full week of intensive vision therapy, hoping to reduce his long-standing nearsightedness - but that’s a story for another time.
Sierra’s only complaint was intermittent eyestrain. At our first meeting, Sierra was wearing -6.50 contact lenses. There were several indications over the course of the evaluation that she might be successful with weaker lenses. By the end of the evaluation, she was seeing better with -6.00 lenses than she was with the -6.50 lenses. We agreed that it would be worth trying the reduced prescription and back to California she went. Actually, we also decided that she would get a pair of -1.00 glasses for over the contacts, just in case she needed a little extra clarity for night driving, museums, or whatever. I also recommended and prescribed counter-stress lenses (+0.50 in this case) to be worn over the contacts for all close work lasting more than a few minutes.
A quick aside: While most doctors and patients are of the opinion that people only need “reading glasses” sometime after the age of 40, there is another school of thought. The human visual system was not designed for the type and amount of close work done by most of us. Many behavioral optometrists understand that the use of counter-stress/reading lenses can benefit most people beginning at an early age. These lenses reduce the workload and enhance the efficiency of the brain during near visual tasks such as reading, working at a computer and general school work and homework. Appropriate near lenses can prevent the stress on the visual system that often results in nearsightedness, astigmatism and other more complex visual conditions. These lenses can eliminate symptoms such as headaches, eye discomfort, dry eyes, neck pain and fatigue; they can actually prevent many of these symptoms from ever occurring. If your doctor is not aware of the power of protective, counter-stress lenses for people of all ages, it might be to your advantage to find a doctor who knows better.
Sierra returned exactly three years later, with her two-year-old daughter, and happily wearing her -6.00 contacts. She reported using the -1.00 glasses sparingly, but said there were times she didn’t have them handy and wished she had. The funny thing is that her distance acuity with the -6.00 lenses showed that Sierra was seeing more than one whole line better on the eye chart that she had three years earlier with -6.50.
I found it interesting, and both of us found it exciting, when almost the exact same scenario played out at our second encounter. Sierra started out with -6.00 lenses and almost 20/15 acuity. The very same indications emerged as in our first meeting, resulting in the decision to try -5.50 contacts instead of -6.00. So far there have been no complaints.
That is where things stand as of now. I am looking forward to our next meeting. I hope it does not take three years.
Call Dr. Gallop today at 610-356-7425 if you are interested in a different approach to vision care. You will be able to speak with Dr. Gallop personally.